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Nets play Lakers in night two of L.A. back-to-back

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Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

At least some of us got a little extra sleep? The Nets went into Los Angeles to start a back-to-back and got stomped out by the Clippers. The Nets were short handed and going up against the league’s best team. Stuff happens.

Awaiting the Nets will be the Los Angeles Lakers. The baby Lakers have been a pleasant surprise one month into the season and are quickly become a league pass favorite. Although they got blown out in their last game to the Wolves, the team has looked solid.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV and WCBS 880 AM on radio. Still on the West side so grab a snack (or two) and tune in after 10:30 PM.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin's out. Isaiah Whitehead was available but didn’t play last night as he is recovering from the concussion he suffered last Tuesday. No word on his availability tonight.

All clear for the Lake Show.

The game

Having Brook Lopez won't hurt. The Nets are working to maintain his health and will continue to avoid playing him on both sides of a b2b. Lopez is the Nets most reliable player and a guarantee to get you a good 18 to 20 points on efficient shooting. He’ll be matched up with Timofey Mozgov. When free agency began and Mozgov got his huge contract for the Lakers, practically every response I saw openly mocked LA for giving him $64 million. However, Mozgov has done fairly well in his role and appears to be a nice piece for the Lakers going forward.

New coach Luke Walton has the team playing inspired ball, and as scary as it sounds, they could be playing even better. As the baby Lakers get more seasoning, those mistakes figure to happen less frequently. It’ll be interesting to see how they look when we see them again next month in Brooklyn.

The matchup at power forward should be fun. Julius Randle is a bully of a power forward that controls the glass, plays a physical style of ball and can lead the fastbreak. We can say the exact same thing about Brooklyn’s Trevor Booker.

I didn’t realize this until I looked it up on Basketball Reference, but Swaggy P (aka Nick Young) has been in the league TEN years. And amazingly, he’s having the best year of his career. He’s shooting a career high 46.4 percent from the field, turning the ball over at a career low rate, and most importantly, playing fantastic defense. Rondae Hollis Jefferson figures to draw this assignment and has to make sure he keeps Young off of the three point line.

Player to watch: D'Angelo Russell

D’Angelo must have been the happiest person in the world when we found out Byron Scott was out of a job. Scott made life hell for Russell last year and benched him for BS reasons. With Walton and his motion offense, D-Lo has been more involved and has more freedom to orchestrate the offense. Although his shooting numbers aren’t there, he has the potential to go off at a moment’s notice. And like a lot of Lakers, he needs to cut down on the turnovers.

Sean Kilpatrick got the start last night at PG and had a rough go of things against Chris Paul and the Clips. Despite that, he’s done fairly well this season and as he gets more time at the point, he should become more comfortable setting his teammates up. With Lopez back, there won’t be a need for Kilpatrick to take 17 shots again. The Nets don’t need that out of him.

From the Vault

Over at Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie, Kelly Dwyer had a great article discussing Magic Johnson’s career between the Pistons sweep in 1989 and his HIV diagnosis in 1991. This part really stood out:

The typical arc of the story’s re-tell has Magic Johnson, clutching a pained left hamstring, truly limping away from the NBA in 1989. The two and a half years spent between that supposed denouement as a player, suffered in Game 2 of Los Angeles’ title defense against Detroit in the NBA Finals, and Magic’s HIV diagnosis in 1991 have remained largely forgotten. It’s understandable, as we tend to let the larger moments overshadow the relatively significant, but that shouldn’t excuse it.

Magic Johnson wasn’t some too-slow, ill-fitting reminder of a previous era from 1989 through 1991. He didn’t act as some proto-version of Vlade Divac, milking every lope up court on his way to a low post that could have been ordered on special from the YMCA your father-in-law shoots at. His appearance in the 1991 NBA Finals wasn’t a token goodbye, nor was it an upset fling for the Lakers. His 1989-90 Most Valuable Player award wasn’t handed to him solely due to a raft of dodgy math.

And with that, take a trip back to 1990 and watch Magic go to work against the Suns.

More reading: Silver Screen and Roll